Sunday, October 25, 2009

59) The day Communist China entered the UN: from History

On Oct. 25, 1971, the United Nations General Assembly voted to admit mainland China and expel Taiwan.

U.N. Awaits Peking Delegates
Taipei Clings To Affiliate Ties
Rogers Calls Ouster A Mistake
Appeal By Thant Calling Vote Big Step Forward, He Urges End Of Bitterness

Special to The New York Times, October 25, 1971

United Nations, N. Y., Oct. 26--A delegation representing Communist China, which was voted into the United Nations last night, is expected to arrive here this week to take its seat, diplomats close to the Chinese said today.

Reports from Peking quoted the Acting Foreign Minister, Chi Peng-fei, as having said that the timing was now being considered.

At the same time, Nationalist China, which was expelled from the United Nations in the same General Assembly vote, declared through its diplomats here that it would fight to remain in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other agencies with ties to the United Nations. But the general view here was that the Nationalists faced a hard struggle.

'Tremendous Step'
At United Nations Headquarters, Secretary General Thant appealed to all members to "endorse the tremendous step forward" represented by Peking's admission and to set aside suspicion and bitterness.

Diplomats from African and Asian countries who played a key role in the campaign for Peking said they understood that a delegation would be arriving here from the Chinese capital as soon as practical arrangements could be made.

Other diplomats said they thought that the first group might come from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa. They said this contingent might be headed by Huang Hua, the Chinese Ambassador to Canada and a close adviser to Premier Chou En-lai.

Instructions Not Received
Spokesmen at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said in telephone interviews during the day they had no instructions on any moves to New York.

United Nations officials, stressing that there were no legal or ceremonial obstacles to keep Chinese diplomats from simply walking into the meeting rooms and taking seats, said they were awaiting notification from Peking.

This would be in reply to the telegram of notification from Mr. Thant sent to Peking late last night.

The General Assembly voted 76 to 35, with 17 abstentions, to seat Communist China while expelling the Taiwan-based Nationalist Government. This automatically gave Peking the seats assigned to China in the General Assembly, the Security Council and other United Nations organs.

After the tension and drama of last night, today was spent in efforts at reconciliation and in political introspection and analysis.

Mr. Thant and Foreign Minister Adam Malik of Indonesia, the Assembly President, set the tone with separate statements underlining the reality of the decision already made and the need for living with it.

The Secretary General, the Burmese who is to retire at the end of this year after a decade in office, recalled that he had always advocated Peking's participation in the United Nations, while respecting the views of those opposing it.

"Now that the Assembly has taken a decision, that the question has been settled, let us not lose time and energy by falling into the temptation of judging attitudes which now belong to the past, of awakening suspicions which have already been overcome," Mr. Thant said.

"Let us unanimously and resolutely engage on the new road which opens today before us. I solemnly appeal to all member states to leave no room for bitterness, but on the contrary to abide by the decision of the General Assembly and endorse the tremendous step forward which has been taken last night."

Thant Sees Stronger U.N.
Mr. Thant said he believed Peking's presence in the United Nations "will eventually lead to the strengthening and betterment of the organization and that the decision reached last night may enable us to solve more effectively the international problems with which we are confronted."

"Last night's vote should not be considered in terms of either victory or defeat, but as an essential step toward a more effective and realistic international system," he added.

Mr. Malik, who presided over last night's dramatic succession of votes, said in his statement that he welcomed "China's participation in the life and work of the United Nations."

"The Assembly's decision also constitutes an important step forward in our common effort to obtain a more just and peaceful international order, where all nations, large or small, can work, in freedom and equality, for the material and spiritual betterment of their people and for the preservation of civilized life on our globe in the decades to come," he said.

Mr. Malik then touched upon one of the unresolved political questions when he expressed his hope that the "problem regarding Taiwan" could "be resolved peacefully by the Chinese people themselves."

This was a reference to rival claims by the Communists and the Nationalists to sovereignty over Taiwan. In the Peking view, the vote implied the recognition by the international community that there is only "one China," that it includes Taiwan, and that it should be ruled from Peking.

But the Nationalists along with the United States, which fought and voted against Taipei's expulsion, reject this interpretation.

The Nationalists continue to insist on their claim to represent all China. The United States avoids judgments on this point, but continues to offer the Government on Taiwan support against any attempt by Peking at an armed take-over.

Most diplomats here predicted today that Peking would not raise the Taiwan question in the United Nations upon assuming its seat here, at least in the foreseeable future.

China is expected to act "seriously and responsibly," in the words of one Western European diplomat, and avoid needless clashes.

One of the first responsibilities facing China's new delegate in the Security Council will be to take part in the decision on a new Secretary General to replace Mr. Thant.

The five permanent members of the Council--all of whom wield veto power--must agree on a secretary general. The uncertainty over the China seat has delayed discussions of candidates.

But sources familiar with the Chinese said that Peking might well favor a secretary general from a small Asian country--a person resembling Mr. Thant--rather than a candidate from a neutral European nation.

It was not immediately known when the Security Council would hold its next meeting.

The General Assembly, having completed the China issue, is scheduled to turn its attention to general disarmament.

Questions on Listing
Among the ceremonial problems linked to the change in the Chinese representation is how China wants to be officially listed here.

The United Nations announced that a message had gone to Peking raising this question so that the alphabetical order of precedence and the place for the new Chinese flag could be determined. The choice appeared to be between "China" and "People's Republic of China."

Today, however, no Chinese flag flew in front of the Assembly hall. The Nationalist flag had been lowered yesterday and the mast was naked in the sun.


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